Thursday, September 14, 2017

FLSA - Uber driver - "employee" - "employer"

Razak v. Uber Technologies – ED Pa. – Sept. 13, 2017

If apps be the food of the future, log on! With apologies to Shakespeare––the opening line of Twelfth Night, “If music be the food of love, play on” providing inspiration––app based ride-sharing is a disruptive business model in search of a legal theory.1

The courts that have dealt with litigation arising out of ride-sharing technology have struggled to find an appropriate legal doctrine to fit these novel commercial relationships. For this case, one challenge is determining what type of activity includes a driver being “on call” for an assignment, and whether this status is “compensable.” Plaintiffs Ali Razak (“Razak”), Kenan Sabani (“Sabani”), and Khaldoun Cherdoud (“Cherdoud” and, together with Razak and Sabani, “Plaintiffs”) have brought individual and representative claims against Gegen, LLC and its sole member, Uber Technologies, Inc.  for violations of the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 § U.S.C. 201 et seq. (“FLSA”), and parallel Pennsylvania state wage and labor laws.

Before the Court is Uber’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the limited question of whether—assuming, for purposes of this Motion only, that Plaintiffs qualify as “employees” and Uber as an “employer” under the FLSA2 —the time they spent Online the Uber App is compensable work time under the FLSA, and by extension, the PMWA.